The perfect start of your studies at TU Darmstadt
What you need to know for the start of your studies and what support services are available

Your first semester at a new university – that comes with many new challenges. But TU Darmstadt does not abandon you. The departments and study areas offer a wide range of support services before and at the start of your studies. Check out all the options and make use of the extensive offers right from the start.

Before starting your studies: brush up on basic knowledge and close gaps

In some degree programmes, there are preparatory courses or bridge courses that facilitate the subject-related transition between school and university as learning at university is different from learning at school. This is why it is important to get used to it in good time and close any gaps in your basic knowledge.

The preparatory course in mathematics is highly recommended for all study programmes that deal with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)! Whether engineering, business information systems, biology or cognitive science – if you have decided on a degree programme with mathematical elements, you should definitely take the preliminary maths course. Basic knowledge will be repeated, and you can set your own priorities according to your course of study. During the course, you will receive support from tutors and work in small groups that are automatically assigned.

Mathematics pre-course

The mathematics pre-course of the department of mathematics lasts five weeks and takes place before the official start of lectures. The course is currently held completely online, which means that you do not have to be in Darmstadt to participate. The cost of participation varies depending on the programme. In some cases, the costs are fully covered or participation is subsidised. Students from other subjects and study areas can also take part in the preliminary maths course.

Tutors support you to prepare you in the best possible way for your upcoming studies.

ome departments also offer additional preliminary courses or online preparation, such as the programming course offered by the computer science department or the digital welcome package offered by the mechanical engineering department. Just check your department's website in good time and you will find all the information there.

Getting started at TU Darmstadt

The website Getting started at TU Darmstadt provides answers to all important questions about starting your studies. For example, you can find a checklist of what you need to do when, or an overview of all the online platforms available at TU Darmstadt.

At the start of your studies: bundling the most important information and meeting new people

Once you have prepared everything and you’ve arrived in Darmstadt for the start of lectures, the real thing begins – your studies start!

Orientation Week (OWO) – the (almost) most important week in the entire degree programme

For each degree programme, there is an introductory event, an orientation phase (O-phase) or orientation and introductory week (Orientierungswoche OE), in which you receive the most important information about starting and planning your studies. This usually takes place during the orientation week (Orientierungswoche/OWO), which is organised by the respective student body of the department. You will be introduced to TU Darmstadt’s campus management system TUCaN and learn how to find your way around Moodle or other university platforms. And most importantly: the OWO is the ideal opportunity to meet new people and get in touch with your fellow students!

Florian,
Biology B.Sc.

One of the best experiences during my studies is looking after the new first-year students during the OWO. Here, we organize an informative, but of course also fun introduction to studying in groups.

Portrait TU Darmstadt Ambassador Florian
Picture: Britta Hüning

„From an obligatory introduction event, to campus and city tours, to game and topic evenings, researchers who report on their experiences in biology and, of course, the “Ersti Party” – we cover everything. At the end of the day, we want to facilitate early networking within the program and lay the foundation for a warm welcome to the department and future friendships. During the pandemic period, we set up a digital alternate programme.”

Hybrid OWO

In winter semester 2021/22, the OWO will take place in hybrid form. There will be both virtual and classroom elements. The OWO will usually take place before or during the first week of lectures, i.e. between 7 and 15 October 2021. The OWO is usually aimed at Bachelor's students in their first semester; there are often separate introductory events for Master's students.

Introductory events offer the opportunity to get to know fellow students personally, such as here for student teachers.

During the first semester: hang in there

As soon as you have gained an initial overview and have arrived in the semester, you need to keep at it! Here, too, the departments and study areas offer a lot of support. In the mechanical engineering department, for example, an additional mathematics support course (MSK) is offered by the mechanical engineering student body, which takes place during the first semester. At the Department of Law and Economics, the OWO transitions directly into an introductory study phase that extends over the entire winter semester.

Offers for scientific working

Scientific work – from research to scientific writing – is an important foundation for all courses and fields of study. It is hardly ever a topic at school, which means that working scientifically also has to be learned first. At TU Darmstadt, there are several focal points:

Mentoring programmes: benefiting from the experience of others

Experts in a certain field – the mentors – support people who are still inexperienced, the mentees. At TU Darmstadt, there is student as well as professorial mentoring, which can be worth it, especially at the beginning of your studies. Student mentoring is carried out by student mentors from higher semesters. They support new students on an equal footing with their studies and self-organisation as well as in everyday university life, for example the student mentoring programme BioPrime in the Department of Biology or the mentoring teaching at the Centre for Teacher Education.

Mentors support you individually on your way through your studies.

Florian,
Biology B.Sc.

If something lays the foundation for a successful start to studies, it is the student mentoring programme BioPrime. It continues the OWO, provides students with valuable tips and workshops during the first phase of their studies, and ensures that they get to know each other better.

Portrait TU Darmstadt Ambassador Florian
Picture: Britta Hüning

“Two mentors each supervise small groups of about 15-20 students and deal with study-related topics such as learning strategies, time management, but also stress, and exam situations during the exam phase in weekly meetings. Of course, the important aspect of socializing together should not be forgotten. One of the goals is for the students to join in fun activities. This includes going to the cafeteria together, bowling in the evening, bouldering, or getting to know Darmstadt with everything it has to offer.”

In the case of professorial mentoring, professors or academic staff from university teaching take on the role as a mentor and usually support several students at the same time, mainly professional level. Some mentoring programmes start later and can help with the choice of specialisation, for example, in the Information Systems Technology programme from the third semester onwards.

Sometimes, professorial mentoring accompanies students over several semesters, for example in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Some mentoring programmes are a fixed component of the degree programme and are obligatory to take, for example, the Intensive Mentoring System (iMS) of student mentors in the department of computer science or mentorING in the department of etit.

Students get free campus licences

As a student, you can use a lot of software and programmes free of charge through TU Darmstadt. These include Microsoft Office, MeisterTask, Zoom, and the Sophos antivirus programme. You can also use many scientific programmes for free. Check the website of the University Computer Centre (Hochschulrechenzentrum HRZ) to see which campus licences are available and how you can get the said version for free.

Special support for international students

When you start studying in a foreign country or even on a foreign continent, you are confronted even more with completely different challenges. However, TU Darmstadt also offers a wide range of support services for international students. The first point of contact for international students is International Student Services (ISS). Here you will receive support in all non-academic areas. The Language Centre of the TU Darmstadt provides language support. There are various language courses for international students, including intensive German courses.

For exchange students who only spend one semester at TU Darmstadt, there are the X-Weeks. Degree-seeking students who are completing a full degree programme at TU Darmstadt can get a first overview at the Kick-Off Days. Both events include orientation sessions. In addition, you will be divided into groups, each of which will be looked after by a guide who will be your direct contact person for all questions. For prospective students with a refugee background, TU Darmstadt and the Language Centre offer preparatory courses with a language focus. The student initiative Tutor international also offers support during the orientation phase, you can find new friends there.

For international Bachelor’s students, we recommend PreCIS (Preparatory Course and Support Programme for International Students), which offers pre-courses, buddy programmes and semester-long workshops, among other things. International Master's students in STEM subjects can participate in MasterPlus. In the WELCOME and PREP programmes, you will receive organisational and linguistic support in preparing for your studies. In addition, you will be supported virtually by e-buddies from your department.

Catalina,
Biomolecular Engineering B.Sc.

Although PreCIS took place only online last year, I still signed up for it. This programme not only offers the opportunity to improve my basic maths vocabulary and scientific language and terminology in German, but also to meet other students from different corners of the world.

Portrait TU Darmstadt Ambassador Catalina
Picture: Britta Hüning

“When the course started, I was still in Moldova, but that didn’t matter at all. All the events took place online and therefore everyone had the opportunity to participate regardless of their location. During the first two days, we were taught basic and necessary information about the university: how lectures are held, which events take place, how to register for them, and how to use Moodle and TUCaN. I got to see the university live in an online game and that was mega cool! What really helped me was the study skills training, where we learned how to study effectively, how to set goals properly and much more. Also, I was really happy to have a mentor who helped me in my first semester and who supported me.”

In addition, some departments and degree programmes have developed their own support services for international students. In the Master's programme Distributed Software Systems (MDSS), international students are supported in the first semester by an English-language mentoring programme. Su2Ma – Success through Support – Materials Science is aimed at international Master's students in materials science. In the Department of Mathematics, international students are also supported in an extra buddy programme. The BioBuddies help international biology students arrive in Darmstadt.

There are various counselling options at TU Darmstadt.

If you have taken advantage of all the offers available to you, you are perfectly prepared for university life and have laid the best foundation for successful studies. However, if any uncertainties or difficulties arise, get in touch with someone who can help you. The first point of contact can be the study office or the student body of your degree programme. You can get advice independent of your subject from the Central Student Advisory Service and Orientation (ZSB), which is always there for you if you need advice or a second opinion.

CHE University Ranking

By the way: In the current university ranking of the CHE (Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung/Centre for Higher Education Development), TU Darmstadt scores particularly well in the category “Support at the start of studies”. This applies in particular to the following degree programmes: chemistry, mathematics, physics, computer science, geosciences, business administration/industrial engineering, business information systems, architecture, civil engineering, environmental engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and information technology, mechatronics, and German studies.

Portrait TU Darmstadt Ambassador Florian
Picture: Britta Hüning

Florian

Gude, my name is Flo and I am studying biology for my Bachelor's degree. I was particularly impressed by the high practical component of the degree programme at the TU and on my campus. I'm with students@school so that I can support students in their choice of degree programme with my experiences and impressions of the university as a student ambassador.

Portrait TU Darmstadt Ambassador Catalina
Picture: Britta Hüning

Catalina

Hello, I’m Catalina! The Technical University Darmstadt is one of the best technical universities in Germany and is part of the TU9 university network. My degree programme offers a wide range of subjects from different fields. In addition, the university is located in a science city and there are many research opportunities. That's why I chose this university.